Booker T. Whatley and the History of CSA

Booker T. Whatley was an agricultural professor at Tuskegee University who helped pioneer sustainable agriculture in the United Stated post WWII.

via Smithsonian

Two New England farms, Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire, have widely been credited with starting the CSA movement in America, said to have been inspired by European agricultural traditions. The farms—one white-owned and one member-owned—implemented their first farm share programs in 1986.

But the story of the CSA model actually begins decades earlier, in the 1960s and ‘70s, with a man named Booker T. Whatley. A Black horticulturist and agricultural professor at Tuskegee University in Alabama (where he followed in the footsteps of George Washington Carver), Whatley was an advocate for regenerative agriculture, among other environmentalist practices. At the height of the civil rights movement, Whatley began counseling the Black farmers who were deeply engaged in that struggle.

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